College hoops are back; How do the top 5 DI teams look so far?


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North Carolina Head Coach Hubert Davis has some work to do after a slow start

Luke Sugar, Sports Editor

College hoops is back in action, and the first week has been jam packed with upsets, overtime thrillers and buzzer beaters 

This year, it’s really anyone’s championship to win. However, there are certainly some powerhouses who look like the early favorites to cut down the nets in March. Let’s take a look at the top 5 teams this season. 

#1 North Carolina Tar Heels

UNC was one rebound away from being national champions a season ago. But Tar Heel fans have absolutely nothing to hang their heads about coming into this season. UNC brings back four starters in Caleb Love, RJ Davis, Leaky Black and Armando Bacot. Bacot, Love and Davis are the most dangerous trio in the country. Bacot is a Preseason 1st-Team All-American and Love is a Preseason 2nd-Team All-American. Pair the UNC veterans with grad transfer Pete Nance and the depth and youth off the bench, and UNC has a legit chance for a redemption tour title. The Heels are 3-0, but looked shaky against very mediocre opponents and struggled rebounding the ball. Don’t expect UNC to be #1 in the next AP poll rankings — they have to earn it. 

#2 Gonzaga Bulldogs 

All-American Drew Timme is back again for the Zags, and he automatically gives the team a shot to win it all. Timme is averaging 22 points per game. Junior guard Julian Strawther also returns and has looked much improved from a season ago. Joining the Timme-Strawther duo is redshirt junior transfer Malachi Smith, who has put in solid work during their first two games. The Zags are 2-0 but narrowly escaped Michigan State with a 64-63 win. The Zags got off to a slow start in the first half versus MSU, and they will need to be more consistent down the stretch. Stay tuned for the Zags blockbuster matchup versus #12 Texas.  

#3 Houston Cougars

Houston looks very dangerous early on, absolutely annihilating the first three teams they’ve faced. Granted, none of the teams the Cougars played have been real threats. Star senior guard Marcus Sasser leads the way, averaging just under 16 ppg. Sasser is a preseason 1st-Team All-American. But the Cougars win by committee, with junior Tramon Mark, junior J’Wan Roberts and stud freshman Jarace Walker all averaging double figures so far. Keep an eye on Walker, who also leads the team with 7.7 rebounds per game. So far, Houston has looked like one of the most dominant teams in the country, but we just need to see the Cougars play someone legit. 

#4 Kentucky Wildcats 

This is the only team in the top 5 that we can confidently say will not be there come the next rankings. Kentucky has arguably the most dominant player in the country — reigning player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe. He’s a load in the low post and a monster on the glass. In his season debut versus MSU, Tshiebwe dropped 22 points and an insane 18 rebounds. But the dangerous MSU squad shocked the Cats, coming away with the 86-77 win in double overtime. Kentucky fans are surely disappointed, but they still have six players averaging double figures and brought in a top-5 recruiting class. Don’t worry, Kentucky is not going away. 

#5 Baylor Bears

Baylor looks like a true powerhouse sitting at 3-0 with three dominant wins. The top four on Baylor looks very strong thus far, with Adam Flagler, Jalen Bridges, Keyonte George and LJ Cryer all averaging 14 points or more. Senior Flagler will be the go-to guy, and he’s getting it done on both ends of the floor — averaging 17.3 ppg, 7.7 assists per game and almost 2 steals per game. Year in and year out, the Bears are one of the best defensive teams in the nation. And if the Bears can keep up their offensive prowess (averaging 100 points per game), while tightening up their defense, this will be a scary team. The Bears’ next matchup versus top-20 opponent Virginia should be a low scoring, defensive showdown.